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The cotton laccase gene GhLAC15 enhances Verticillium wilt resistance via an increase in defence‐induced lignification and lignin components in the cell walls of plants

Zhang, Yan, Wu, Lizhu, Wang, Xingfen, Chen, Bin, Zhao, Jing, Cui, Jing, Li, Zhikun, Yang, Jun, Wu, Liqiang, Wu, Jinhua, Zhang, Guiyin, Ma, Zhiying
Molecular plant pathology 2019 v.20 no.3 pp. 309-322
Arabidopsis, Gossypium hirsutum, Verticillium dahliae, Verticillium wilt, arabinose, cell walls, cotton, crop yield, cultivars, defense mechanisms, fungi, gene overexpression, genes, innate immunity, laccase, lignification, lignin, pathogens, phylogeny, reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction, screening, transcription (genetics), transgenic plants, xylose
Verticillium dahliae is a phytopathogenic fungal pathogen that causes vascular wilt diseases responsible for considerable decreases in cotton yields. The lignification of cell wall appositions is a conserved basal defence mechanism in the plant innate immune response. However, the function of laccase in defence‐induced lignification has not been described. Screening of an SSH library of a resistant cotton cultivar, Jimian20, inoculated with V. dahliae revealed a laccase gene that was strongly induced by the pathogen. This gene was phylogenetically related to AtLAC15 and contained domains conserved by laccases; therefore, we named it GhLAC15. Quantitative reverse transcription‐polymerase chain reaction indicated that GhLAC15 maintained higher expression levels in tolerant than in susceptible cultivars. Overexpression of GhLAC15 enhanced cell wall lignification, resulting in increased total lignin, G monolignol and G/S ratio, which significantly improved the Verticillium wilt resistance of transgenic Arabidopsis. In addition, the levels of arabinose and xylose were higher in transgenic plants than in wild‐type plants, which resulted in transgenic Arabidopsis plants being less easily hydrolysed. Furthermore, suppression of the transcriptional level of GhLAC15 resulted in an increase in susceptibility in cotton. The content of monolignol and the G/S ratio were lower in silenced cotton plants, which led to resistant cotton cv. Jimian20 becoming susceptible. These results demonstrate that GhLAC15 enhances Verticillium wilt resistance via an increase in defence‐induced lignification and arabinose and xylose accumulation in the cell wall of Gossypium hirsutum. This study broadens our knowledge of defence‐induced lignification and cell wall modifications as defence mechanisms against V. dahliae.